Thursday, February 10, 2005

Email, sleep and a couch warming party

Had an interesting weekend, looked into mutt for mailreading again, alas, it doesn't meet all of my needs (most importantly, being able to have more than one active composition open at the same time), so I'll stick with dtmail & pine for now. The search for a much less lame mailreader continues.

Saturday started out with an incredible lecture on sleep and the brain at Stanford, featuring Professors Dement and Kushida. Wow! I never would've thought sleep could be so interesting. Both speakers were energetic and interesting.

Dr. Kushida extensively covered obstructive sleep apnea, different types of insomnia (including things to help treat this yourself - like, you should never lay awake in bed for more than 20 minutes. If that happens, get out of bed and do something in a different room that will make you drowsy and only then return to bed), narcolepsy and violent somnambulisms (sleep screaming, running, driving and killing).

Dr. Dement is a pioneer in sleep research and is the doctor who actually discovered REM sleep, which he noted is common in all mammals. There was a lot of information about REM and what happens to the brain after you fall asleep. For instance, the brain keeps sending signals to your body - it's only due to REM paralysis that you normally don't act out your dreams in the real world. He also covered, in depth, the concept of "sleep debt". Simply stated, sleep debt accumulates the more days you go without a full night's sleep, and one good night's sleep does not make up for all of your missed sleep. I've always felt that this was true, but so many of my friends said that it wasn't possible to accumulate a lack of sleep. Dr. Dement presented some very compelling evidence (including a study done at NIMH that accidentally proved his hypothesis that sleep debt existed), so I'm going to follow his advice and try to get just a bit more sleep every night.

And as a strange highlight this week, I went to my friend Val's house for her "couch warming party," where her Swedish friend, Lina, made us delicious Swedish meatballs, mashed popotatoes and herring pie. I was surprised, the herring pie was really good! At the party, I ran into a fan of Professor Dement who has now loaned me the book "The Promise of Sleep," Dr. Dements attempt at educating the general public about sleep and why it is so important.

Update 1 is rolling right along, still generating tons of emails. Most of the features targeting this release have been reviewed and are just "soaking" waiting to integrate. There will be a few driver updates later, but it's still exciting to see things progressing this far. It's a lot of work being a tech lead, but very interesting.


  1. I have experienced exactly the same mail client problems. I used elm and later mutt, but wasn't really satisfied.
    Now I am using emacs with the VM package, and I haven't gone back since...

  2. You might find this article interesting.
    Zeroing in on the core cellular mechanisms of sleep, researchers at University of Wisconsin Medical School have identified for the first time a single gene mutation that has a powerful effect on the amount of time fruit flies sleep.